I am so glad you put this question to the winds, Sean Howard . I will eagerly be reading the responses. I want to know what the black writers here have to say on the topic.
I’m not a journalist. I will never write a straight up social justice piece. It’s not why I’m here.
I occasionally write essays or opinion pieces on social issues or politics, such as my piece on otherness (The Enemy Other) or homophobia (Greeting from Omaha: a Hate Crime). But my interest lies in story telling and how these issues intersect the stories of lived lives. The only topic I am an expert on is my own life, so that’s where I tend to start.
I’ve never gotten any flack for my “issue” pieces. I’d like to think that was because I only spoke from my perspective, but more likely it was because I had so few readers.
But, on the topic at hand, I have hesitated to write anything about my childhood experiences of black and white growing up in Philadelphia in the 1960s. I am sincerely afraid that, more than my stories being unwanted (oh well — such is life), I would be considered doing harm or being insensitive. I absolutely do not want to do that.